Monday, August 1, 2011


I know some people are getting tired of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series being placed on a pedestal and looked upon as the only standard for current super hero films, but some of the most successful films have borrowed a thing or 2 from it. In Captain America’s case, it was the importance placed on the origin of the main character and the pacing of the story. It didn’t have the same issues as ‘X-Men 3’, ‘Wolverine’ or ‘Spiderman 3’. It didn’t try to cram a bunch of shit in to two hours or try to get all “artsy” like Ang Lee did with the Hulk (sorry but that’s what you get when you hire an “art house” director to make a superhero film). ‘Captain America’ was over 2 hours which gave plenty of time to tell the story without having to rush. And there was only ONE villain to focus on. And at the same time, ‘Captain America’ didn’t try to be like ‘Batman Begins’ or ‘The Dark Knight’ as far as being a “gritty” dark retelling. The film contains a decent amount of campiness and corniness that one should expect from a super hero movie like this. Captain America is not only Marvel’s “Golden Boy” or “Superman”, but he’s also a symbol of patriotism (sorry to sound so corny), so you shouldn’t expect for the filmmaker to go all “dark” and “brooding” with this one (which is what I’m worried this new Spiderman revamp is going to try to be like). At times Chris Evan’s overally patriotic performance seems a little forced with lines like; "there are men laying down their lives every day. I’ve got no right to do any less than them", but at the same time it is Captain America we’re talking about here. The feel of the film, set in the early 1940’s, is slightly cartoonish yet at the same time has a somewhat grainy/grayish look to give it an authentic “old timey” feel.
In the film Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers: A small & weak yet patriotic American who’s chosen for a secret experiment to turn him in to a super soldier to fight a sub division of the Nazi’s called “Hydra”, led by Hitler’s right hand man “Red Skull” (played by Hugo Weaving), who has the same powers & abilities as Steve Rogers/Captain America (both characters went under the same experiment). At first, Captain America is paraded around the country and used as a sideshow attraction instead of being used to fight in the war. But after he proves himself by saving a group of U.S. soldiers, he’s given the chance to fight alongside the other soldiers. In the beginning, Hugo Weaving comes off as a typical Nazi Villain straight outta Indiana Jones. But once he embraces the classic Red Skull skeleton face look, he gives a great performance. The film also delivers an actual showdown between the hero and villain, which is something some directors of comic book movies still don’t seem to realize is an important thing. At the end of the day, people wanna see a fight. No one wasn’t to see the Hulk jump through clouds & lightning. No one wants to see Wolverine investigate or play detective. This is one reason why I’m anticipating ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ as Bane is the main villain who, although is very smart and a criminal mastermind, is a physical character (a wrestler to be specific). So I’m hoping for some kind of a fight or showdown between him and Batman.
Anyway, ‘Captain America’ was the best 3D experience I’ve had in the theater so far (the only other movie that rivals it would be ‘Thor’). Between ‘Avatar’ and Werner Herzog’s ‘Cave Of Forgotten Dreams’, Captain America seemed to be the only film where I didn’t feel like I had keep taking of my glasses every 10 minutes. It really added to the action, which looked great. The vibe of the movie may have been slightly corny, but Captain America’s fighting scenes looked great.
This movie also tied the Avengers story together more than any other film in the series. Besides the obvious Nick Jackson/Samuel Fury cameo (I seriously hope at this point in the game you don’t consider this a spoiler), Howard Stark was an important supporting character. He was one of the scientists that turns Steve Rogers in to Captain America, and he also helps the Captain out on a critical mission to save a group of U.S. Soldiers captured by Red Skull’s army. Also, Odin (Thor’s father) is referenced heavily at the beginning of the film by Red Skull.
A reference to Thor: Red Skull w/ Odin's cosmic cube
A reference to Ironman: Howard Stark in 'Captain America'
Avengers Reference Nick Fury's cameo
‘Captain America’ was definitely a sigh of relief as this is the last solo Avengers story leading up to the joint film which I now have faith in thanks to not only this but ‘Thor’ as well.


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